Mubadala Real Estate, a unit of Abu Dhabi’s strategic firm Mubadala Investment Company, launched a string of properties for sale at the Al Maryah Island on Tuesday, as it aims to speed up construction and lease most of the mega island development in the next 24 months.
Boosting occupancy at the existing buildings in Abu Dhabi's business and lifestyle destination is among the priorities, Ali Eid Al Mheiri, executive director of Mubadala Real Estate, said in an interview with The National in Abu Dhabi.
As part of its strategy, Mubadala launched office space for rent at the newest commercial tower during the Cityscape exhibition in Abu Dhabi, as well as the second phase of its flexible lease ‘micro-offices’ for smaller businesses at Al Maryah, and new serviced apartments at the two luxury hotels.
The finished buildings at Al Maryah and those under construction account for more than 60 per cent of the island and Mubadala Real Estate "expect to complete that within the next 12-24 months", he said. Infrastructure works for the remaining 40 per cent will follow after that phase, he noted.
The upscale free zone houses the emirate’s financial centre, Abu Dhabi Global Market, as well as La Galleria Mall, the Four Seasons and Rosewood hotels, Al Maryah Central mall and two residential towers which are still under construction. The Island development also has four office towers, the third of which has just opened for leasing while the fourth is still under construction.
The UAE’s property market has experienced a slowdown in the past two years on the back of a three-year oil slump, which has weakened demand and dented sales and rental prices.
In the commercial sector, Grade B and older office buildings continue to witness deflationary pressures as corporate tenants consolidate their activities in either smaller or higher quality offices. However, the prime commercial sector has remained relatively stable with only marginal dips in rents, according to consultancy Core Savills’ Abu Dhabi Commercial Snapshot report published this week.
Al Maryah currently houses 60 business tenants and 6,000 employees. Once completed, the free zone expects to provide 50,000 jobs and house 30,000 people.
The developer expects to lease around 30,000 square metres out of a total 180,000 square metres of planned office space in 2018. It has already leased or signed heads of terms on 11,000 square metres since the beginning of this year, according to Ali Fikree, vice-president of UAE real estate at the firm.
The Grade A office space is offered on a ‘plug-and-play’ model where all services and infrastructure are provided, typically on five-year leases, he noted.
In addition to conventional offices, Mubadala launched the second phase of its fully-fitted ‘micro-offices’, which span 1,500 square metres with each unit comprising 50-120 square metres.
The units are offered on flexible two-year leases with the option to renew, and rent is inclusive of utilities, chiller, data cabling and cleaning charges, enabling tenants to move in and start operating straight away, according to the company.
“We are seeing high demand for these smaller offices from companies in emerging sectors such as artificial intelligence. We are getting a really good deal flow,” Mr Fikree said.
A total of 69 serviced apartments are on sale at the Four Seasons Abu Dhabi hotel, including one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments and duplexes, plus two shell-and-core penthouses that require fit-out. Around 85 per cent of apartments are leased already, with prices ranging from Dh120,000 for one-bedroom to about Dh500,000 for duplexes.
The company also launched three penthouses for sale at the Rosewood Hotel’s Private Residences. It expects demand to come from buy-to-let investors, a large number of whose tenants work on Al Maryah Island, it said.